We analyze the Horizon Zero Dawn PC port, the second title that runs under the Decima Engine that arrives on the platform for compatible.
This summer has emerged as a sequence of months of special relevance for the computer community. In July we told you about the successful landing of Sam Bridges on Steam and the Epic Games Store. As Akio Sakamoto told FreeGameTips, PC Tech Lead at Kojima Productions, Death Stranding “was designed to run at 60 frames per second.” Only a version as malleable as this has allowed us to discover the original perception of its creator.
The Decima Engine’s debut off the PlayStation 4 managed to perform with outstanding performance. However, whoever would follow this path does not seem to have obtained the same result. Horizon Zero Dawn comes to the platform for compatible in its full edition, which includes all the updates it received on PS4, as well as its expansion and more.
The birth of a heroine
At this point, little remains to be discovered about Horizon Zero Dawn. Guerrilla Games surprised with a title opposite to its perspective in recent years. From the gray and direct Killzone shooter, to perceive an open world that unites prehistory, future and technology. We saw the witness of Aloy, who has managed to become the PlayStation brand heroine on her own merits. And it is that in 2017 it was difficult to find a sandbox that transmitted the elements of the genre so well.
In this house it obtained a rating of 9.2 out of 10, in which we classify as “one of the roundest games” that could be found in those times within the formula. Salvador Fernández, our editorial coordinator, assured that Guerrilla had managed to produce “what is probably his most solid title with a very complete proposal at all levels”. “A main campaign in which the plot grows to unsuspected limits in the last third and in which we will enjoy moments of a magnitude and scale that will hardly be forgotten in a long time; to it is added a cast of high-level side missions with interesting small subplots, live characters that change according to the actions we carry out and an endless number of more topical tasks to be carried out, but which, distributed in due measure, contribute their grain of sand when it comes to exploring a huge world full of contrasts like the one we live in ”.
The integration of machines in the ecosystem stands out. These animal-shaped beasts of steel have managed to become an icon of the PS4 generation. Each one had its own cast of virtues and weaknesses; It was up to us to select the strategy that was best suited to counteract the forces of the opponent. Facing a Storm, as the adventure icon giant eagle is called, is a moment of special mention.
Of course, as a negative point we saw a human AI “little clever”, in addition to the lack of inspiration of hand-to-hand combat, virtually automated with two simple buttons. Combat takes much more weight when you know how to interpret which instrument should be chosen at any given moment. Visually, it was “pure technical muscle”. Without forgetting its expansion, Frozen Wilds, which maintained the quality line seen in the main adventure.
Strengths and weaknesses
Our visit to Horizon Zero Dawn on PC has left us with mixed feelings. At times it is a pleasure to enjoy its visual quality; for others, it is uncomfortable to deal with several of the problems that the port has. It should be noted that the day one update has solved quite a few errors that were obvious, but others still remain there. And we are not referring to visual bugs per se, but to technical problems that cloud the overall experience. We are stuttering for no apparent reason while browsing the open world, and the anisotropic filter is not working as it should at the moment. The study has recognized that they are “investigating” these two incidents, in addition to the framerate limit at which some animations of certain characters work. More updates to come.
Jumping to the performance of the game, in ultra quality we can move it around 65fps at 1440p. Several generic presets have already been established from the graphic settings menu, including the original mode, which is clearly the way it works on PS4, which is equivalent to medium quality. Below that is a performance mode, which doubles as a low version with FXAA enabled. We can adjust the textures, model quality, anisotropic filter, shadows, reflections, clouds, anti-aliasing (FXAA, TAA or none), blur and ambient occlusion.
Even if we select the original mode we barely manage to gain between 15 and 20 fps compared to ultra. The graph always works between 98% and 99% of its capacity. It is not the best example of optimization for high-end equipment. The system we have used for the Reviews consists of an i7 8700K processor, an RTX 2070 Super graphics, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1440p monitor. It gives the feeling of being a neglected port in this regard. It is difficult to explain the low frame rate on equipment that far exceeds the recommended requirements. We have already seen in Death Stranding what this engine is capable of when it works well. It’s a matter of time (and updates) for Horizon Zero Dawn to follow the same path.
The customization possibilities are appreciated, such as being able to limit the target frames or being able to choose what you want to achieve so that the resolution adapts in times of stress. At the same time it is compatible with all frame rates, HDR and ultra-wide monitors, as well as being able to select the field of view. It is the other side of the coin of this transfer. There is a very clear approach of offering the maximum number of tools that allow adjusting it to your equipment. Whether you have the monitor that is or due to your circumstances in terms of gameplay, Horizon Zero Dawn on PC provides what you need from the inside.
It is a real shame to have experienced these problems. When it is stable, the game leaves us really impressive visuals. Special mention to the ultra vegetation and the way in which it reacts to Aloy’s body. The clouds, the effects and the lighting at the change of the hourly cycle give a high-level appearance. There is a noticeable jump compared to what was seen even on PS4 Pro. The Decima Engine has already proven to be solvent when building open worlds with great graphic depth. And when the weather effects appear on the screen, it manages to attract your full attention. You will burn the photo mode.
Keyboard and mouse control is optimal. Given the nature of the game, a third-person adventure is perfectly playable with them, and at no time is the action of the controller missing. It is possible to adjust the actions to the key that you want. On the other hand, the photo mode is available from the pause menu; The full edition includes all of the original’s bonus packages, including its expansion and features that came to PS4 during its post-launch support.
The arrival of Horizon Zero Dawn on PC does not achieve the global quality of what has already been seen in the Decima Engine. It needs optimization work, especially in high-end equipment. We also suffer from stuttering. The study will need to work during the post-launch period to alleviate the rough edges that remain even after the day one patch. It’s a shame, when it goes well it shows its technical muscle in some wonderful prints in ultra quality. The way in which the vegetation reacts to the Aloy passage, the lighting during the change of cycle, the clouds… there are reasons to dive back into it if you have a computer above the PS4 hardware. If it is your first time, you will enjoy a benchmark in the PlayStation Studios catalog.
- In ultra it looks spectacular.
- Vegetation and the way she reacts to Aloy.
- Debugged keyboard and mouse controls.
- Highly customizable graphic settings and ultra-wide support.
- Includes all additional content from the full edition.
- Lack of work at the optimization level.
- Some visual bugs not present on PS4.
- Stuttering while navigating the open world for no apparent reason.
Game with a remarkable finish that we will enjoy and remember. A good purchase, highly recommended for lovers of the genre. It is well cared for at all levels.